|This isn't Nell -- Nell's even prettier :)|
I haven’t known Nelle long. She attends the church my husband and I recently joined when he accepted a position as its student minister.
Her faith immediately impressed me. A retired schoolteacher and a widow, Nelle asked the Lord how she should spend the remainder of her life. A serious question like this deserves a serious answer, and she got one.
God’s answer came in the form of a need. She heard about missionary families on the field half a world away. Attempting to acclimate to the country and culture, they attend language school full time while also attempting to homeschool their children. The demands of class, homework assignments, cultural challenges, and their children’s educational needs are overwhelming.
Enter Nelle, stage left.
I met Nelle three weeks before she was due to depart for a 3-month term of service.
“God has answered so many prayers about this trip,” she told our Sunday school class one morning. “There are only a few details that still need to come together.” She described a visa concern and asked our class to pray. As everyone bowed their heads, I did too, but I also shuffled around in my purse for a business card.
“I know someone who works with the government,” I told her, pressing the card into her hand after our prayer. “Here’s her number; I think she can help you.”
We parted ways, and I didn’t think of the conversation again until a week later, when we met in the church parking lot.
“You and I have a mutual friend,” she exclaimed with delight.
“Who?” I asked.
“Debbie?” I repeated, slightly confused. “The Debbie that lives in Delaware?”
“One and the same,” she smiled.
“How do you know Debbie?” I asked. Debbie lived in Columbia, but had moved to Delaware almost three years ago.
“She was my nurse practitioner, and she’s also my dear friend. She’s been praying for all the details of my trip, including my visa concern,” Nell replied. “When I shared with her how our youth minister’s wife knew someone in Washington who could help me, she put the pieces together and knew it was you.”
Nelle in Columbia asked Debbie in Delaware to pray about her visa. God answered Debbie’s prayer by making me aware of the need. Nelle phoned my contact, and now she’s cleared for travel.
And while we’re bragging on God’s amazing networking skills, let’s go ahead and throw in the fact that Debbie has also been praying for my husband’s ministry, asking God to place him in a church that needs us. He accepted the call six weeks ago. Just in time for me to meet Nelle.
“When I pray, coincidences happen,” William Temple said, “and when I don’t pray, they don’t.”
A friend once described God’s perspective as being like the 3-level chessboard crew members played on in the 60’s TV show Star Trek. “We’re the pieces, and all we can see is the next move in front of us,” he explained. “God, however, sees every piece, every move, and every level. The world is at his disposal. He can move people and resources wherever he needs them to fulfill his good purposes.” When we pray, he allows us to be part of this.
What amazing “coincidences” have you seen in response to prayer? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below and share the encouragement.
And if the Lord brings her to mind, would you pray for my friend, Nell? She's flying out on Wednesday. Many thanks.
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